I have been extremely fortunate to visit many of the world’s great wine regions … so far Piedmont has not been one of them. I have spoken to many about the region, though, and to a person they have all said I will love it there. Great cycling. Legendary wines. And the food–it is Italy after all. Imagine riding thru the vineyards. Over short punchy hills, earning the evening’s delights with every pedal stroke.
At least that is what rolls through my mind.
But I am crazy that way.
The kind people at Quintessential Wines sent me the following wines from the region, no doubt as a tease (not really, but I think it makes for a better story: a little tension never hurts).
2016 Attilio Ghisolfi Barbera d’Alba Maggiora DOC: Retail $25. 100% Barbera. Barbera is perhaps the red-headed step child of Piedmontese varieties. Nebbiolo gets all the publicity for obvious reasons: it produces powerful, deep, age-worthy wines. Barbera on the other hand tends toward fruity, frivolous wines that are meant to be consumed fairly quickly after release. And while this wine certainly falls into that latter category, it still delivers on several levels. Dark and opaque, the wine exudes dark fruit: plum, black cherry, and freshly ground black pepper. The palate is dominated by a tart dark cherry, with just a touch of spice, but no real tannins present in the silky finish. Very Good. 87-89 Points.
2016 Attilio Ghisolfi Langhe Nebbiolo DOC: Retail $30. 100% Nebbiolo. Not quite up to the level of “Barbaresco” or “Barolo” in the Piedmont, many see the Langhe appellate wines as some of the better values in the region; a Baby Barbaresco/Barolo bargain, if I can so alliterate. Fairly light and translucent dark cherry color, with aromas of violet, subtle Bing cherry, and cedar, this is really a delightful wine on the palate. Luscious fruit (in the old world, reserved style), a wonderful tartness, a bit of earthiness, and drying tannins all define the palate and the finish. This is not a vin de garde, per se, but it is a beautiful wine. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2014 Attilio Ghisolfi Barolo Bricco Visette DOCG: Retail $89. 100% Nebbiolo. Dark, almost black, but still on the verge of translucence in the glass, with a bit of funk and dark berry aromas. The palate is light, but with plenty of delicate flavors: black raspberry, tar, plenty of lip-smacking acid, and some spice. Some drying, but subtle tannins on the finish suggest that some short to medium range aging could be of benefit. A fantastic wine from a rather difficult vintage. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2014 Attilio Ghisolfi Barolo Bussia DOCG: Retail $70. 100% Nebbiolo. A single vineyard selection in Monforte d’Alba, this wine starts with brilliantly translucent crimson with dark and blue fruit, lavender, and vanilla with anise and black pepper–simply luscious. The palate is surprisingly even better: silky, rich (without being heavy in the slightest), subtle fruit, and incredible length given what I have read about the vintage. While the Bricco Visette was fantastic, this wine is close to stunning and nearly a whoa. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2017 Bel Colle Verduno Pelaverga: Retail $35. 100% Pelaverga Piccolo di Verduno. A rare variety that is not only native to the Piedmont, but to the specific region Verduno there within, and certainly the first time I have ever tasted it. I will need to get more and presto. Light and translucent in the glass with brilliant strawberry and a touch of black cherry in the glass. The palate is simply delightful with bright red berry fruit, a touch of earth, and a surprisingly lengthy finish. This is really fantastic. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
2015 Bel Colle Barbaresco Pajorè: Retail $70. 100% Nebbiolo. This is a unicorn of sorts, a single vineyard Barbaresco, an “MGA” (Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva), that are more common in Barolo. Beautiful red fruit on the nose with a splash of earth, the palate is equally delicious with that fruit, some tobacco, and a spadeful of earth. It finishes with a healthy dose of tannin, suggesting that this wine has a way to go. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
2014 Bel Colle “Simposio” Barolo DOCG: Retail $60. 100% Nebbiolo. I looked and looked. I even tried to learn Italian (not really) to try to find out why this wine is called “Simposio” (“Symposium”) to no avail. I thought about making something up, some “fake news” of my own, but I was too enthralled in the wine itself. Dark yet still slightly translucent in the glass with black raspberry pie on the nose: great fruit and a dollop of vanilla. Incredibly rich on the palate with luscious fruit and incredible depth. It is wonderful right now, but would benefit from a bit of cellar time. Gorgeous. Whoa. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2014 Bel Colle Monvigliero Barolo DOCG: Retail $75. 100% Nebbiolo. The fruit comes from some of the winery’s best holdings, on the hills of Verduno. Hedonistic nose of dark berry fruit with a touch of smoke and freshly tilled earth. The palate starts off fairly mellow, with all elements there, but subdued. On the mid palate, the wine awakens, reluctantly revealing the fruit and impeccable balance. A considerable tannic structure lies just beneath the surface, casting its protective blanket all over the finish. This wine needs some time, folks. It is entirely wonderful now, but I feel it could use at least a half-dozen years. At least. Me? I would stick it in my cellar for a good decade. Or more, but I am crazy like that. Outstanding. 92-94 Points.